Post–pregnancy exercise doesn’t have to be a fantasy story–OK! let exercise be one of the fun activities you do WITH kids rather than making it a separate activity.
Q) Why do you want to exercise?
A) I can't forget the day–I was 12-years-old–that everything just clicked. I was on a run with my dad and sister when I realized that the whole “exercise thing” made me feel good! I literally felt happy and strong, and when I grasped how hard I worked to finish that run, I felt accomplished. Equal to the mental benefits are the physical ones. My body simply functions better when I exercise. My skin is clearer (sweating detoxes!), I crave healthier foods, and I sleep way more soundly. And my muscles are toned, which makes them work and look better. Two pluses.
Q) How can you maintain your exercise with your baby?
A) Maintaining exercise post–baby is a challenge, but it's as conquerable as anything. Zero in on the benefits that you enjoy from exercising and then make it happen (and most of all, of course don’t give up)!
For example, the benefits of exercise that I just mentioned are magnified for me as a mother. Now more than ever, having a strong body is key to keep up with my 1.5 year old and to be creative with her. I have to sleep well and recharge, because motherhood is kind of exhausting. I need to eat healthy, because baby girl is watching and learning from me! I need to feel good about myself: mothering is simply demanding, both emotionally and physically. I have found that, for me, all of those pros–strength, sound sleep, healthy eating, and better self-esteem–are strongly rooted in exercise. And I just can't let those benefits pass me by, especially as a mama.
So again, to stay truly motivated and to maintain exercise as a mother, ask yourself "What are the real reasons why I love and need to exercise?" You'll understand its personal, unique benefits for you, and then it will be hard not to work out. Promise!
Q) What are your exercising tips?
A) Like my previous answer, find what you love to do and just do it (Nike nailed it). I love to run and to practice yoga. You might hate running and think that yoga is boring, and that's totally great. Try different types of exercise until you find what you just can't get enough of. If you love what you do, you'll willingly make time for that workout–no matter what!
Also, be proud of any time you can give to a work out. On average, I exercise for 30 minutes every day–sometimes even just 20 minutes. While I’d like to workout for 60 minutes like I did pre-baby, I’ll take what I can get! Some exercise is better than no exercise at all.
Q) When is the best time to exercise?
A) Timing totally depends on you and your little one. However, these are two major keys: be flexible and don't give up! Babies and toddlers aren't always predictable, but if you really want to, you will make time to exercise. I make my best attempt to exercise in the morning before my daughter wakes up. If it doesn't happen–ah, she woke up earlier than planned!–I switch game-plans. Forget the yoga mat, we'll go running! Be willing to meet the needs of your child and to keep exercising.
Q) What are your favorite exercise activities to do with your baby or toddler?
A) Nothing beats exercising with my daughter. I love giving her a sense for how fun exercise can be. I often invite her to do yoga with me. I roll out my husband's yoga mat for her when I practice, so that has her own special place, and even though she just ends up rolling around (most of the time), she does love doing the down-dog. We often go running with our jogging stroller. I tell her I'm taking her for a ride and–to keep my word–I run really fast. We also just dance, which is the easiest way ever to keep our bodies moving. Truly, instilling in her a love for being active is probably the best benefit of exercise of all.
Jeni is from St. George, Utah, and has an awesome husband, Ryan, and one sweet daughter, Olivia. She loves learning, staying busy, hiking up mountains, making people laugh (it doesn't happen often, which is why she loves it), and, obviously, a good workout. Her favorite foods are colorful and filling like a Cafe Rio salad. Jeni is a writer and blogs at jeniawer.blogspot.com to stay creative and to document her family's life in real-time.